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Entries in ios (4)

Tuesday
Jul102012

Beau Weaver Reports: Studio Six Digital IAudioInterface2 vs Tascam iU2

Okay, this is what I was waiting for...     

The Studio Six Digital IAudioInterface2.  IAI2 is rugged and solid….built like the Sound Devices gear.  It has an internal battery for phantom power, so it draws nothing from the iPad/iPhone.  And, if you have the charger plugged in to charge the internal battery, it also charges the iOS device battery too.  $399.99 Pricey, perhaps, but it's actually a piece of pro gear…..as opposed to a consumer device like the Tascam iU2.  It even has optical output.
There is an App called AudioTools that gives control to inputs and outputs. When you close the app, it saves your preferences to flash ROM in the IAI2.   It might be a little daunting for a non-technical person, but gives much flexibility…….and the bonus of not being able to accidentally change settings while in the field.  The app also has a nerdy suite of test tools
You can actually plug the 416 right into the unit for a one handed operation (okay, two, if you are holding the iPhone).  And it has 1/4 jacks and will drive real headphones. 
The audio is very clean, with very little self noise……and I am a freak about that…….any discernible noise is not okay with me…..because of how heavily processed the end result may often be.  But this is very quiet.

Works great with TwistedWave for iOS.  
It's much better than the Tascam iU2.  The iU2 works with iOS devices….but it is designed to sit on the desktop, not work in the field.  It has a bunch of switches on the underside, which are inconvenient and it has no power source.  For portable, it must be plugged into a USB battery pack or USB powered hub.  It has way too much internal noise for my taste.  However, if one wishes to travel with only one audio interface device, iU2 works with Mac OS X Core Audio.  So, less to carry.
Still, the IAI2 is the winner.  Almost twice the price….but it is a real piece of PRO gear.  
Saturday
Feb182012

TwistedWave for iOS now creates MP3s and exports to SoundCloud

Those who use TwistedWave on a regular basis know about one inconvenience of the software:  MP3's must be encoded offsite, which adds another step to the process and slows the delivery of files when time is not on your side.  As of the latest TwistedWave update, which went live February 17th, 2012, MP3's are encoded locally right on your iOS device!  My best guess is that the powers that be at Apple decided to finally pay for the licensing to encode MP3 on iOS, as it certainly wasn't a technical limitation.  

Another cool added feature is the ability to now upload your files directly to a SoundCloud account.  This addition joins a long list of ways you can deliver files directly from TwistedWave, including email, FTP, and Dropbox.  Yes, no iCloud support yet.  I gotta say I am un-impressed with iCloud, it just seems like it came too late to the party and is a closed system that only functions on Apple devices within software specifically written to support it.  I love the openness of Dropbox, and the ubiquity, and the sheer convenience.  It works on my Mac, PC, Android phone, and iPod Touch.  What more could you want?

Here's a SoundCloud I just recorded on the iPod Touch with TwistedWave.  This is the built in mic and I applied some dynamics processing

 

Wednesday
Jan182012

Beau Weaver reviews the Tascam iM2 mic for iOS devices

Hello from Nerdville;

Finally a super portable microphone for iOS that, with some care, and in a decent sonic environment can produce voice tracks on your iPhone or iPad that are actually air-able.  In fact, if you take time to listen to my line by line comparison audio file I have posted here, you will be pretty damn impressed.  You can hear the difference, but by the time they finish with post, it will be more than adequate.
The mic is the Tascam iM2 for iOS. It's about 80 bucks!  It connects via the 30 pin connector.

im2_with_iphone_grey.jpg

Caution: there is another Tascam product that you do not want (the Tascam iXZ) an iOS audio interface with XLR and phantom power..... but sends analog audio through the 1/8th inch mic/headphone port.  Bad bad bad!  That mic port has a radical "telephone filter" eq baked in, so there is no way to get broadcast quality audio through it.  No no no, fluffy.  You want the Tascam iM2!

NOTE:  George tested the iXZ with an iPod Touch with good results, but it's lousy with the iPhone. 

The audio app you use to record is TwistedWave Mobile for iOS.  
It makes rough editing quite easy, and it will export to Dropbox, memorized FTP folders, and, using a nifty workaround, allows you to send a link to an .mp3 file on Twisted Waves webserver.   Apple will not allow native export of .mp3 due to their contracts with record companies, and their general control-freak nature!
So, Twisted Wave allows you to send an uncompressed file up to their server, and creates an email with the link from which your client can download the .mp3.   However, remember, uncompressed audiofiles are huge......so, you will want to upload only the buy takes, or plan to sit there forever, especially on a 3G connection.  Hopefully, you have found a Starbucks.   I think a better option is using AAC files...which are better quality than .mp3........and most digital audio workstations will read them.  Email or FTP.
I have posted a line by line comparison audio file of a couple of scripts, recorded simultaneously in the studio on the 416 and the Tascam.  I compare my home studio with the 416 to the Tascam iM2, and the built in iphone mic.  I did no processing, except clipping out breaths.  

                                        Check out this WAV file (to download to your desktop)

                                        OR this MP3  (this one will stream in your browser)

 

After the line by line comparision, you will hear the complete reads all the way through.....  1:   416  2:   Tascam iM2  3:   iphone built in mic.    I am favorably impressed.

 

I set the volume almost wide open......with the limiter on the iM2 switched off.  I worked it about 5 inches away to the side, at about a 75 degree angle, to minimize plosives and wind.   I have ordered an extension cable, so that I will be able to read a script off the iPhone while recording.

 

You really  have to be careful to hold the mic very still....it is very sensitive to movement and wind.  Note: switch the iphone to "airplane mode" or you may pick up some RF noise, and be disturbed by notifications.   

 

In either case, iPhone or iPad, you can start recording and multi-task.......that is, switch to the email client.....by double clicking the home button, and selecting the email icon.  Twisted Wave will continue recording in the background with no problem, and will indicate this by the red bar notification at the top of the screen.  You then return to TW  at the end of your read by double clicking on the home button and selecting the TW icon.

 

You will not want to try to narrate a documentary with this, but certainly for tags and short promos.......it's not bad at all.  And it may save your client's bacon when you are nowhere near a studio and they have an emergency.   I had equally good results on the original iPad.

 

There are a couple of other interfaces in the pipeline that will allow us to use the 416 in the field with iOS ......but the ship dates keep getting pushed back. 

 

In the meantime, for 80 bucks, and something that is truly pocketable, this is not bad at all.

 

 

As always, 

 

 

 

Beauregard

 

 


 
Wednesday
Nov022011

QUICK REVIEW: TASCAM iXZ iOS device audio interface

The Tascam iXZ just popped up on my radar.  

I don't usually buy new gadgets for which I haven't read a review previously, but at $50 I couldn't resist.  So I figured why not be the first to review this affordable audio interface and see how well it works?

It seems that recording professional audio into an iPhone was never part of Steve Job's master plan.   

While we wait for the ultimate audio interface that connects to the iPhone via the dock connector with a digital signal, other products some to be coming along to fill the gap.   The Tascam iXZ is the first one I've seen that really boils the features down to the basics in a very portable package, while still accepting a phantom powered studio condenser microphone.  

The iXZ's multifunction XLR/phono combo jack will allow connection to a standard 3 pin XLR mic cable, or to a 1/4" guitar cable.  It provides 48V phantom power at up to 5ma, enough for many modern mics.  I metered the XLR connector and sure enough there's about 46V DC with a fresh pair of AA alkaline batteries.  It's enough to power my Audio Technica AT3035 microphone with appearant ease.  There's a variable input gain control dial, which isn't calibrated.  It also has an 1/8" mini headphone jack for playback purposes.  Sadly, it doesn't provide a "Zero latency monitoring" function to listen to the mic in your headphones while recording.

The iXZ does not come with any software, which is just fine with me.  I'd much rather not waste time with some inappropriate for VO bundled application.  Buy TwistedWave from the app store for $10, plug in the iZX into the headphone jack, plug in your mic, power it on, engage phantom power, hit record, set your levels, and you're recording.  TwistedWave is incredibly feature reach for an iOS app, even providing the ability to process the audio through effects and FTP files.  It can also deliver MP3's via their own server, a necessary workaround since Apple won't permit encoding to MP3 on an iOS device.  

But does it work?

That depends on what you want to use it for.  If your intention is to replace your Macbook or other laptop and audio interface with this unit for all of your work, I wouldn't go that far.  Take a listen the this recorded sample using an Audio Technica AT3035 studio condenser mic and judge for yourself.  CLICK TO PLAY

It's definitely quite useable for making an audition happen while traveling.  And with proper noise gate settings, you might even pull off a job here and there in a pinch.  Here's the first segment of the previous audio sample after processed with a noise gate in TwistedWave.   CLICK TO PLAY

NOTE:  Beau Weaver tested with an iPhone and DID NOT get the same results we did with the iPod Touch!  The audio quality differed.  In his audio test he records first with his home studio system, next with his Sennheiser 416 into the iXZ, then with the iPhone mic.  LISTEN TO HIS TEST

I did test it with my T-Mobile MyTouch 4G phone, and it DOES work.  However, my phone's recording quality was no where as good as the iPod Touch's.  A good deal of the recording quality is thanks to the iPod itself.

To summarize, here's a Pros and Cons list.

PROS:

 

  • Cheap, only slightly more than an XLR adapter cable to connect a dynamic mic 
  • Very compact and light
  • 15 hrs on a pair of AA batteries when using phantom powered mics
  • Works better than the price would imply
  • Will work with an Android phone, as well as most all Apple iOS devices

 

CONS:

 

  • A tad bit noisy (no worse than a Blue Snowball)
  • No "zero latency monitoring" for headphones while recording
  • Connects to analog line input instead of digital dock connector
  • Very short cable to connect to device, making it hard to read a script from your phone while holding it

 


Tascam iXZ and iPod Touch 4th gen